Matthew Borczon: Three Poems

SLS- my grand father was a miner, then a railroad man before he left that life to live in Erie Pa and chase my grand mother. My wife grandmother lived in West Virginia where her father was shot dead on a street car for trying to organize a union among the coal miners there. I joined the Navy for cheap health care for my wife and 4 children. My dad said what ever you do stay out of the mine.

Psych ward

Not sure
which was
more unsettling the soldiers
who would
just shut
stop talking eating
bathing or
even slapping the dust
off their
blank eyes
dead expressions even when
the plane
was ready
to take
them to Germany


the ones
who get
and all
bad assed talking about taking trophies and hating Hajies

wanting to kill them
all single handed smiling until their teeth were stained red with blood

one guy even fought the guards who came to put
him on
the plane

said he had more killing
in him

in the
end they
took them
the ones
who wanted
to kill
and the
ones who
wanted to

The only good thing

I think

cancer eats you from the feet up

my dad
could not walk
and was shrunken to half his normal weight he could

not eat
not shit
and could barely hold the ice chips that were the only things he could keep inside the wrecked warehouse

his body had become

he came
in his wheelchair
to watch
my 2 daughters
in their
dance recital and stayed until he
had seen them both
on stage before saying he was
too tired
to continue to watch
asked me
to take

him home

he never mentioned pain

I had
been home 2 years
by then and
the war had taught me who the real heroes were.

Compassion fatigue

In the thick of it all
I didn’t notice

couldn’t see didn’t realize what had happened

a woman dies and
all I
think is how white the screens looked that they used to prevent us from seeing her dead body the baby dies and

all I
wonder is why no
one wanted to hold
him one last time

the base
is attacked and all
I wonder
is how
close the
car full
of explosives got to
the gate
a soldier loses both his arms
and legs
and I
think about who will feed him blood fills the OR
ankle deep and all
I hope
is I’m
not the

one they hand the mop to.